Will Ms Zibelman please explain what she means by strategic reserves of power?

Subscribers and people who can get around the paywall at The Australian can read about the boss of the AEMO calling for new market rules and strategic reserves to reduce load shedding and the risk of blackouts.

Ms Zibelman repeated calls for changes to Australia’s rules to create a “day-ahead” market that would require generators to guarantee fixed supply and pay to acquire it if they were unable to supply it. The proposal is the latest in a series of moves by AEMO to insure the market against the risk of blackouts and load shedding, a risk that has been rising with the increased outages at ageing coal-fired plants.

She has previously called — unsuccessfully — for the creation of a strategic reserve that could be drawn on when prices were high or supply was low, and for longer-dated purchases of emergency reserves than those allowed under national electricity market rules.

Ms Zibelman said the lack of such powers forced the AEMO to intervene in the market in the short term and at a much higher cost.

This muddle-headed wombat is confused. What sort of rules and what sort of reserves? Stored power? Spare capacity? There is effectively no storage and at the peak there is no spare capacity.

This looks like the handwaving and gestures of a magician to distract you from seeing the attendant putting the rabbit in his hat or whatever the trick is. What is the trick with strategic reserves of power?

I suppose the trick is to distract people from the reason why we have lost the coal-fired capacity that used to be the strategic reserve.

This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Will Ms Zibelman please explain what she means by strategic reserves of power?

  1. stackja

    I believe the lady is a climate change advocate. Maybe also financially inclined.

  2. thefrollickingmole

    How about the rules state this.

    There are no rules other than power will be sourced from the cheapest stable generator at any given time.

    Everything else, with the absence of subsidies and transfers of price would sort itself out.

  3. Ben

    The one change that would fix all this is to remove the “semi-scheduled” market participant category. That is the category that allows weather dependent generators to change their output with the weather.

    Forcing wind and solar to hedge themselves against intermittency, instead of coal paying for it, would reveal the true cost of wind and solar.

    Except for subsidies. Except for transmission. Except for system strength.

    And we need to shutoff the interconnectors too. They make sense when the supply can meet the demand, but now the interconnectors propagate price volatility around the market, instead of isolating it to a region.

  4. Karabar

    Complete nonsense! Day ahead market indeed!
    The old rules are that a generator must bid into the market, essentially at five minute intervals, (although in actual fact they bid in blocks of a half hour or more, and if the bid is accepted there is a penalty for failing to supply (as will happen if a unit unexpectedly trips to a lower load or completely offline).
    But the ruinables have never had to play by that rule. They can generate whenever they feel like it, and disconnect whenever they feel like it. i.e. if a windmill is at a good load and the wind gusts, or drops off, the windmill simply disconnects, and not a word is spoken about it.
    Hence the need for expensive spinning reserve.
    The only solution is the old rules, whereby the genco at fault pays a hefty penalty when they fall over.
    Of course, under these rules there would be no windmills or solar ‘farms’. They wouild all be out of business, and the wholesale price of electricity would revert to what it was ten years ago.

  5. Rafe Champion

    Thanks Karabar it is pretty obvious that all the windmills and solar farms would be stranded assets without the subsidies and preferential access. I wonder how much longer people will be able to get away with claims that more unreliable energy will lower prices? Look around the world for a start. Can Germany avoid a recession etc.

  6. DaveR

    “Take no notice of that (wo)man behind the curtain”

    All this subterfuge from a committed leftist allowed to run the national grid, and designed to deflect reders from the real problems in the system: massive renewables subsidies and ever-increasing (and hidden) infrastructure costs .

    And the deceptive talk of “increasing outages at ageing coal-fired plants”. More accurately, its powering down as renewable subsidies temporarily reduce the market price below required base coal power prices, only to shoot up again at the next peak.

  7. Aynsley Kellow

    Thirty years ago I was criticising engineers for thinking only of engineering factors in electricity. Now, engineering considerations seem to be an afterthought.

  8. BoyfromTottenham

    “She has previously called — unsuccessfully — for the creation of a strategic reserve that could be drawn on when prices were high or supply was low, and for longer-dated purchases of emergency reserves than those allowed under national electricity market rules.”
    If I was the Minister I would use this as justification to build HELE coal-fired power stations in SA, NSW and Victoria. Done.

  9. Peter Greagg

    Ms Zibelman was selected by Mick Trumble for the job.
    IMO, that is all that needs to be said!

  10. Colonel Crispin Berka

    Giant batteries have poor cost efficiency, so affordable installs have only enough energy for doing frequency control and brown-out prevention for short periods, as gap fillers until more powerful sources can take over.
    The only two power sources that can work cost-effectively for baseload supply at short notice are pumped hydro and natural gas turbines. Pumped hydro works to fill the gap but it is a net drain on power because it takes more energy to pump up than you get back in the downflow.
    Logically the answer is gas turbines. So of course in present environment what will be built will be more pumped hydro and Musk Batts.

    Moving the scheduling horizon out to 24 hours is not exactly short-notice, and puts coal back in the picture as the most value for money scheduled generator, but they can’t turn on quickly and need many hours to heat up a furnace and turbine to operating temperature. The answer to unscheduled dropouts remains the same as before: chemical battery arrays and gas turbines.

    There’s interesting recent developments in ultracapacitors using carbon nanotubes which offer 5 times the peak power of previous devices, but by my calculations each single ultracapacitor stores less than 0.0005kWh and discharges in 10 seconds So even a cluster of 2 million could be only a short term gap filler on the scale of the Tesla PowerWall farm, say 100MW for 36 seconds. No indication of what they will cost nor when they will escape from the lab and become commercially deployed.

  11. The Sheriff

    Zibelman is a lying propagandist for the feral green left. We don’t have a blackout or power reliability problem due to ageing coal power plants; we have the problem due to a refusal to invest in coal power and an obsession with useless solar and wind rubbish.

  12. TFX

    The NEM for renewables is the only market I can think of where a service is offered and not delivered at the appropriate time. Compare it to booking a hotel room, a lunch function or attendance at a grand final. A service is offered at a particular time and is expected to be delivered, which it does most of the time, allowing that there can be human stuff ups. A simple change to the market would be that all generators are expected to deliver at the time they have offered their product.

  13. Dr Fred Lenin

    A new industry ,supplying the drums to store the strategic reserve in?
    What a load of uninformed convoluted rubbish ,sack her and get the politicians the hell out of he power industry , no subsidies and the carpetbaggers forced to supply 24/ 7 or get out and remove third rubbish in an environmentally responsible way at their own expense and to a pristine condition or be punished .
    Abolish career politics it is toxic to freedom .

  14. I_am_not_a_robot

    Ms Zibelman is running for cover which is a strong clue as to what to expect come summer.

  15. Beachcomber

    The Sheriff at 3:45 pm

    Zibelman is a lying propagandist for the feral green left. We don’t have a blackout or power reliability problem due to ageing coal power plants; we have the problem due to a refusal to invest in coal power and an obsession with useless solar and wind rubbish.

    It really is as uncomplicated as that. We are being played for fools.

  16. miltonf

    Not knowing anything about electrical engineering is now considered an essential prerequisite for being put in charge of a grid.

  17. miltonf

    A BA or LLB is much more relevant in the minds of our effete elites.

  18. Beachcomber

    Peter Greagg at 3:25 pm

    Ms Zibelman was selected by Mick Trumble for the job.
    IMO, that is all that needs to be said!

    And what have Morrison and Fredo Frydenburg done to replace her?
    Enough said about them as well.

  19. Rafe Champion

    Running for cover indeed. She wants to be able to say I warned you. Everyone on this site knows it was always going to happen.

  20. RobK

    It really is as uncomplicated as that. We are being played for fools.
    Indeed.
    This is the juggling at present penetration of RE. Imagine 50%, or utopian 100%.
    The writing has been of the wall for some decades.

  21. miltonf

    And what have Morrison and Fredo Frydenburg done to replace her?
    Enough said about them as well.

    yep sure does

  22. miltonf

    The 90s micro economic reforms (Hilmer) have resulted in a state responsibility being taken over by Canberra and crony rent seekers.

  23. This is a call to all the Greens and the extinction rebels etc to be prepared to mount pedal-powered generators and save Australia from energy deficiencies (blackouts is so racist).

  24. Why have we even got the Federal Government and its agencies interfering with a market that ran perfectly well when it was left to the states? The constitution is particularly silent on the power of Parliament to make laws to control the distribution of electricity.
    Shut it down. Keep the Feds out.

  25. MACK

    This is a call to all the Greens and the extinction rebels etc to be prepared to mount pedal-powered generators and save Australia from energy deficiencies (blackouts is so racist).

    In fact: Extinction Rebellion uses DIESEL generator at climate change rally
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1173101/extinction-rebellion-protest-climate-change-diesel-generator-manchester-deansgate

  26. Extinction Rebellion uses DIESEL generator at climate change rally

    Of course they would. Are Green Filth ever other than hypocrites?

  27. Nob

    bemused
    #3180427, posted on October 10, 2019 at 4:27 pm
    This is a call to all the Greens and the extinction rebels etc to be prepared to mount pedal-powered generators

    Built from … what?

  28. Entropy

    Keith Bates
    #3180452, posted on October 10, 2019 at 4:55 pm
    Why have we even got the Federal Government and its agencies interfering with a market that ran perfectly well when it was left to the states? The constitution is particularly silent on the power of Parliament to make laws to control the distribution of electricity.
    Shut it down. Keep the Feds out

    That is an interesting question. What if say, Queensland decided to exit the NEM?
    It would drop the price of electricity in Queensland a lot. while that would be fantastic for the ordinary punter, the government, however, would lose the revenue from those elevated prices, and the payments from southern states. That would hurt the budget in the short to near term, and it would not be certain if the economic stimulus of lower electricity prices, plus the rapid shift of industry to the sunshine state would offset the budget revenue loss. So I doubt politicians would do it as even though it would benefit the people, it wouldn’t help the politicians.
    Such a move would also be intolerable to the southern states which are dependent on Qld power all too often. It would expose the ill informed to the reality of where their electrical power really comes from.
    What would the feds do? Could they try a high court challenge using the corporations act powers? can the fed force Queensland to sell power south on constitutional S51 grounds that it must not impede trade?

  29. Built from … what?

    Bamboo, hair shirt leftovers and fairy dust.

  30. Squirrel

    There really is no end to the gimmickry and sloganeering being deployed in an attempt to distract attention from the inconvenient truths of power generation technology.

    The screaming when the serious power outages start will be entertaining – let’s see who’s still “passionate about climate change” then.

  31. Nob

    Squirrel – the blame game started long ago.

    Blackouts caused by aging coal power stations shutting down = more proof of bad coal.

    High gas prices = evil gas companies. I mean, “fossil fuel companies”, as if gas doesn’t compete with coal.

    Instability of grid = need more $billions to give to, I mean “invest in” , unstable wind and solar input.

    Leading to higher energy prices = greedy energy companies. Need more $billions for renewables.

    Leading to more capital flight = but green jobs.

    Could boost tourism I guess if the Au$ falls far enough. Which means more flights and more carbon miles or whatever today’s term is …

  32. Another Ian

    “Strategic reserves of power”

    Six packs of candles?

  33. Rohan

    That is an interesting question. What if say, Queensland decided to exit the NEM?
    It would drop the price of electricity in Queensland a lot. while that would be fantastic for the ordinary punter, the government, however, would lose the revenue from those elevated prices, and the payments from southern states. That would hurt the budget in the short to near term, and it would not be certain if the economic stimulus of lower electricity prices, plus the rapid shift of industry to the sunshine state would offset the budget revenue loss.

    Entropy, you’re assuming that business and what limited industry thats left will be able to survive such a protracted event and then relocate. It would just throw us into a recession or depression. You’d have massive unemployment within weeks. Like it or not, we’re all in the same boat. It’s too late for that to be viable. Either we all sink or swim.

  34. Roger

    Not to worry.

    Kerry Schott pointed out the intermediate solution today: big batteries!

    In the interim the market place will produce some magical new technology.

  35. Nob

    Roger
    #3180716, posted on October 10, 2019 at 8:06 pm
    Not to worry.

    Kerry Schott pointed out the intermediate solution today: big batteries!

    In the interim the market place will produce some magical new technology.

    After you’ve destroyed the market for everything else.

    Wreck it and they will come …

    Cargo Cult – the hardest part is the waiting

  36. Roger

    @ Nob

    The minister concerned – Angus Taylor – rejected her advice, to the consternation of the msm.

    We must be thankful for such small mercies.

  37. Nob

    I’m out of Australia for now but even from this distance (e.g family and friends going stupidly political on social media) I can see that Angus Taylor has become a hate figure for the left.

  38. Dr Faustus

    Ms Zibelman’s “strategic reserve” is based on demand management and open cycle gas/Avtur turbines. Large consumers and turbine owners are paid an ancillary services fee to be ready to drop load and fire up the screamers – and then be paid at emergency prices.

  39. Colonel Crispin Berka

    The Sun Shines On Stop Signs.

    An old tongue twister that has become prescient of the Renewable Energy Target.

  40. Mother Lode

    I saw the front of the AFR yesterday. There were three faces splashed across the front page – the Federal Minister for Energy, this AEMO lower-order-primate, and the Victorian Minister for Energy.

    The Federal Minister was a man. His quote was about scaling back on renewables’ subsidies and making electricity reliable. Then there is this quasi-Merkel muppet. A woman. Her quote was about encouraging the right investment, the problems of subsidies and…liberating ourselves from the expensive to maintain, aged coal plants. The Victorian Minister, also a woman, talked about increasing investing (she means spending) on renewables.

    The guy spoke an approximation of sense.

    The two women were renewables faddists eager to interfere and steer generation away from what would work (and has worked for decades) toward a massive government program with massive government spending of other people’s money in service of a political activists’ agenda.

    Without quotas and ‘affirmative’ discrimination, the guy was as close to merit as we can expect.

    The women, on the other hand, who would have benefitted repeatedly from regulatory and political tilting of fields have a natural affinity for more of the same – particularly as it will again, deliver them rewards and advantage they have not earned.

    I think it will be at least a generation before the ranks are cleansed of this sewage by attrition. Then we might finally find useful women in positions of power.

    Thatcher became PM without affirmative action. The woman who could conquer her party conquered the nation’s problems. Look at the dour trollops we have elevated without guile or skill but politics: all they deliver is politics.

  41. Colonel Crispin Berka

    Roger
    #3180716, posted on October 10, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    Not to worry.
    Kerry Schott pointed out the intermediate solution today: big batteries!

    Were you the first person in this comment thread to mention “batteries”?

  42. Chris M

    What sort of rules and what sort of reserves?

    She means diesel generators. SA government has a bunch, apparently it’s the new green thing.

  43. B.A.Lert

    Clearly, this wombat doesn’t know what electricity actually is but so what . Why the frigg hasn’t she been replaced by someone who is knowledgeable and competent . What is the point of electing scomo if he hasn’t got the nuts to change the narrative.

  44. Entropy:

    That is an interesting question. What if say, Queensland decided to exit the NEM?
    It would drop the price of electricity in Queensland a lot. while that would be fantastic for the ordinary punter, the government, however, would lose the revenue from those elevated prices, and the payments from southern states.

    What is happening is the parasite class is becoming dimly aware that their predations upon the host is killing it. So they are sending out signals that all is well and the situation is under control.
    This allows them to continue feeding at the trough whilst praying the axe falls on anothers neck. They have no intention of fixing the problem – in fact the oncoming collapse of the grid is so certain that any effort will be wasted, and the resources better spent feathering their own nest.

  45. Squirrel:

    There really is no end to the gimmickry and sloganeering being deployed in an attempt to distract attention from the inconvenient truths of power generation technology.
    The screaming when the serious power outages start will be entertaining – let’s see who’s still “passionate about climate change” then.

    The power outages will be a minor warning. The major issue is restarting the grid, if it all crashes at once.

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